The Region 1 Sports Report M-F 4p-5p.
The Region 1 Sports Report M-F 4p-5p.
The Region 1 Sports Report M-F 4p-5p.
The Leach Report Weekdays, 8-9a
The Leach Report Weekdays, 8-9a
The Leach Report Weekdays, 8-9a
The Morning Tip-off with Michael Bennett weekdays 7-8
The Morning Tip-off with Michael Bennett weekdays 7-8
The Morning Tip-off with Michael Bennett weekdays 7-8
Kentucky Sports Radio, Weekdays, 9-11a
Kentucky Sports Radio, Weekdays, 9-11a
Kentucky Sports Radio, Weekdays, 9-11a
The Dan Patrick Show, Weekdays 11a-2p
The Dan Patrick Show,  Weekdays 11a-2p
The Dan Patrick Show,  Weekdays 11a-2p
Jordan Nwora scored 18 of his career-high 32 points before the break before adding five points late that helped Louisville hold off Boston College 80-70 on Wednesday night.

Following up their 21-point road upset of then-No. 12 North Carolina initially took time for the Cardinals (12-5, 3-1 Atlantic Coast Conference), who made just 5 of their first 21 from the field. The Eagles (9-7, 0-4) meanwhile started 12 of 22 to lead 28-16 before Louisville quickly heated up as Sutton scored eight consecutive points.

Nwora picked it up from there with 11 points during the pivotal spurt, including a pair of 3-pointers, as the Cardinals finished 9 of 11 to lead 43-33 at halftime. Louisville eventually built a 23-point lead midway through the second half before BC rallied within 75-70 with just under two minutes remaining.

Sutton then fought through a crowd for a critical offensive rebound resulting in Nwora's 3-pointer with 52 seconds left for an eight-point cushion. The sophomore closed the game with a thunderous transition dunk for the final margin, finishing 12-of-16 shooting with 10 rebounds for his fifth double-double this season.

Sutton shot 5 of 10 with 10 boards while Christen Cunningham had nine points and eight assists for the Cardinals, who finished 47 percent shooting.

Jordan Chatman had 21 points while Ky Bowman added 14 with 13 rebounds for BC, which shot 45 percent and was outrebounded 41-30 in its fifth consecutive loss.

BIG PICTURE

Boston College: The Eagles ran hot and cold throughout the game, with the latter putting them on the verge of being blown out. Just like that, Bowman lifted them on both ends to make things interesting down the stretch. That big hole proved too much to overcome.

Louisville: After missing a bunch of good looks at the start, the Cardinals seemingly couldn't miss entering the break thanks to boosts by Sutton and then Nwora. They cooled off in the second half and allowed BC to rally, but the Sutton-Nwora combination came up big and helped them avoid the letdown loss after a big win.

UP NEXT

Boston College hosts No. 11 Florida State on Sunday.

Louisville visits Georgia Tech on Saturday.

Phil Fayne made the decisive free throw with 5.7 seconds left and Illinois State edged Southern Illinois 59-58 on Tuesday night for its 12th straight series win at home.

Fayne, a 67.4 percent free-throw shooter, was fouled from behind on a dunk attempt and made the second of two free throws to give Illinois State a 59-58 lead. After two timeouts, Southern Illinois got it past midcourt but Eric McGill's errant pass went into the backcourt.

Zach Copeland scored 14 points and Milik Yarbrough added 11 for Illinois State (10-8, 3-2 Missouri Valley Conference), which has won four straight at home. Fayne had 13 points, eight rebounds, three blocks and three steals.

Armon Fletcher had 17 points and nine rebounds to lead the Salukis (9-9, 2-3), who have lost three straight. McGill chipped in with 10 points.

The previous two series matchups went to overtime.

Ashton Hagans knew he was going to get booed returning to his home state.

It sure didn't seem to bother him.

With the crowd jeering each time he touched the ball, Hagans scored 23 points in a brilliant all-around performance that led No. 12 Kentucky to a 69-49 rout of Georgia on Tuesday night.

Hagans, a freshman point guard, initially committed to Georgia while still in high school but wound up signing with Kentucky.

That change of heart — largely the result of a coaching change by the Bulldogs — made Hagans a convenient villain for the sellout crowd at Stegeman Coliseum.

"When I heard the crowd booing me, it was just like, 'Let me just go out here and put on a show,'" he said. "I'm at home. I played good in front of the home crowd, even though I was getting booed. But other than that, I had my family here. I'm just happy they saw me play."

Hagans reached double figures for the fifth game in a row and eclipsed his previous high, 18 points a week ago against Texas A&M. But the youngster's contribution went much deeper on the stat sheet — he also had five rebounds, four assists and four steals for the Wildcats (13-3, 3-1 Southeastern Conference).

Hagans was still piling up numbers an hour after the game. After reviewing the game video, Georgia officials gave him credit for a steal initially credited to Tyler Herro.

"Coach put me in a role. He let me have the ball more. He let me find the open guys," Hagans said. "I'm just going back to playing my game like I did in high school: finding my shooter, attacking the basket, looking for my bigs. I'm just loving how I'm playing these past couple of games. I've got to keep it going."

Hagans seemed to be pressing a bit in the early going, missing his first four shots.

After that, he was pretty much unstoppable.

"It rattled him early," coach John Calipari said of the booing. "It inspired him later."

First-year Georgia coach Tom Crean, who took over after Mark Fox was fired, tried to persuade Hagans to fulfill his initial commitment to the Bulldogs.

Crean really wishes he had him now.

"We're not tough enough on the ball," the coach said. "We're not aggressive enough, nasty enough defending it."

With Hagans wearing blue instead of red, Georgia was left with senior Turtle Jackson starting at the point. He managed only two points on 1-of-8 shooting for Georgia (9-7, 1-3).

"We've just got to learn from this, come out with a different mindset and just keep pushing," Jackson said.

The Bulldogs led by five in the opening minutes before going to the locker room down 35-31.

Hagans took control after halftime, leading Kentucky to its third straight victory. He knocked down a 3-pointer just ahead of the shot-clock buzzer, darted into the lane to scoop one in, and took off on another layup set up by his own steal — the one initially given to Herro.

Just like that, Kentucky pushed the lead into double figures, 42-31.

It was no contest after that.

In the closing minutes, as most of the red-clad fans headed for the exits, a sizeable contingent of Wildcat fans chanted, "Go Big Blue!"

Nicolas Claxton led Georgia with 12 points. The Bulldogs shot only 30 percent (17 of 56) from the field.

DUNKFEST

Georgia's first five baskets were dunks.

After some defensive adjustments and better communication, Kentucky tightened things down at defensive end.

"I'm thinking, 'Is this going to be a 100-point game?'" Calipari said. "When one guy breaks down, you're going to struggle. When two guys break down, they're going to get five straight dunks."

HOMECOMING

Hagans played his high school ball about an hour's drive from Athens.

The freshman initially backed off his commitment to Georgia last February when it became apparent that Fox's job could be in jeopardy.

Indeed, Fox was fired after the season and replaced by Crean.

Even though he signed with Kentucky, Hagans conceded that he's still a Georgia football fan.

BIG PICTURE

Kentucky: Hagans is really taking control of the Wildcats after playing limited minutes early in the season. He is averaging 15.8 points over the last five games, a huge jump from his 3.8 average in the first 11 games.

"I'm proud of him," Calipari said. "The way it started early on, we were still figuring each other out. He wasn't playing much, averaging three points a game. People were like, 'Transfer?' No! It's a process."

Georgia: The Bulldogs still have a lot of work to do, especially in the backcourt. The other starting guard, Teshaun Hightower, had only five points.

UP NEXT

Kentucky: The Wildcats begin one of their toughest stretches of the season with a game Saturday at No. 14 Auburn — the first of three straight games against teams ranked in the AP Top 25.

Georgia: The Bulldogs host Florida on Saturday.

Here are Tuesday night's high school basketball scores featuring local teams.

Boys Scores

Hopkins County Central 67, Trigg County 56
Caldwell County 71, Calloway County  63

Superman Classic
Goreville, IL 65, Graves County 55

1st Region All A Classic
Murray 77, Hickman County 39

2nd Region All A Classic
Lyon County 61, Crittenden County 41

Girls Scores

Graves County 45, McCracken County 29

1st Region All A Classic
Mayfield 45, Ballard Memorial 17
After scoring a season-high 57 points in Houston's win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday night, James Harden was asked how he was able to put Sunday's loss to Orlando, when he went 1 for 17 from 3-point range, behind him so quickly.

"I went 1 for 17? That's a lot of 3s missed," he deadpanned. "Oh wow!"

Then the reigning MVP, who scored 38 points against the Magic despite that terrible statistic, got serious when asked if it's easy to forget about such a night.

"Yeah, because if I make six of them it's on," he said. "It's a 60-point game. So Orlando got lucky last night."

Harden extended his streak of 30-point games to 17 by halftime, pouring in a franchise-record 36 points in the first half to send Houston on its way to a 112-94 victory. It's the longest such streak since Wilt Chamberlain had 20 straight games of at least 30 points in 1964.

It's the franchise-record 14th time Harden has scored 40 this season and the eighth time in his last 11 games. It's the third time he's topped 50 points this season and the 12th time in his career. He surpassed his previous season best of 54 against Washington and fell just shy of the career-high and club-record 60 points he scored last January against Orlando.

Houston teammate Austin Rivers, who joined the Rockets just three weeks ago, marveled at Harden's ability to not let Sunday's struggles spill over into Monday's performance.

"He comes off a game where he was 1 for 17 and everybody's saying whatever and it just doesn't even faze him. He just comes in tonight like he was 17 for 17," Rivers said. "That's just the mindset that the great ones have. I'm telling you right now, if another player went 1 for 17 they would have come in tonight a little ... messed up. James comes in and that's just why he is who he is and it's impressive."

After his huge first half, the Grizzlies double-teamed Harden on most every possession in the first few minutes of the third quarter and he didn't score again until there were about five minutes left in the period. That basket was the start of an 11-0 run capped by a 3-pointer from Harden that pushed the Rockets' lead to 76-60 with about 3 1/2 minutes remaining in the third.

A 3-pointer by JaMychal Green got the Grizzlies within 12 later in the third before Harden scored five quick points to make it 87-70.

Garrett Temple and Mike Conley scored 14 each for the Grizzlies, who lost for the eighth time in nine games.

Memphis coach J.B. Bickerstaff, who worked for the Rockets from 2011-16, said his team tried to keep the ball out of Harden's hands, but Houston does such a good job of putting him in different spots on the floor that it's difficult to do effectively.

"There's so much space, so you have to give them credit and give him credit just for the talent he is and the impact he has on the game," Bickerstaff said.

Harden's latest big game came on a night when the Rockets were without three starters, as center Clint Capela joined Chris Paul and Eric Gordon on the injured list after he hurt his right thumb Sunday night. It's possible Capela could miss significant time, but coach Mike D'Antoni said the team won't know how long he'll be out until he gets a second opinion later this week.

Harden made his first two 3s on Monday night to quickly outdo his 3-point shooting from Sunday and finished 6 of 15. It's the 13th time in the last 14 games that he's drained at least five 3s after his NBA-record streak of 12 straight ended with his cold shooting performance against the Magic.

Harden made 15 of 17 free throws and had nine rebounds, two assists and two steals.

He crashed to the court making a 3 as he was fouled by Green to give him 52 points with just under five minutes remaining. Harden completed the four-point play to make it 103-85.

Harden went to the bench to a standing ovation with 3:35 left and Houston ahead 107-85.

TIP-INS

Grizzlies: Kyle Anderson missed the game after spraining his left ankle Saturday. ... Jaren Jackson Jr. had 12 points.

Rockets: Paul missed his 12th game in a row with a strained left hamstring. ... Gordon missed his eighth straight game with a bruised right knee. ... Danuel House had 15 points and Rivers scored 11. ... Nene started in place of Capela.

THEY SAID IT

Harden on if having the most consecutive 30-point games since Chamberlain means anything to him: "No. The win was important."

MR. 600

The win was the 600th of D'Antoni's career. The 67-year-old coach had 14 wins in one season in Denver, 253 in five years in Phoenix, 121 in four seasons with the Knicks, 67 in two years with the Lakers and got his 145th victory with Houston in his third season.

"I appreciate these guys and everybody before them," D'Antoni said. "But it just means you've coached some good guys, and you're able to avoid getting fired too many times."

UP NEXT

Grizzlies: Host the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night.

Rockets: Host the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday night.